Westminster to scrap law that stops Welsh MPs voting on England-only laws
The system designed to prevent Welsh MPs from voting on England only matters is set to be scrapped next week.
A vote will be taken at Westminster on Wednesday (13 July) to abolish the EVEL (English Votes for English Laws) legislation.
The system was temporarily suspended during the pandemic but Cabinet Officer minister Michael Gove has been pushing for the permanent removal of a law that he says has ‘not served our Parliament well”.
In an interview with The Times he said: “Ultimately, it’s a convention which arose out of a set of circumstances after the 2014 referendum, where you had a coalition government and so on.
“We’ve moved on now, so I think it’s right to review where we are on it. My view is that the more we can make the House of Commons and Westminster institutions work for every part of the UK and every party in the UK, the better.”
The law was introduced in 2015 and the issue featured prominently in the Tory election campaign as a way to tackle the ‘West Lothian’ issue, with English MPs unable to vote on devolved matters while non-English MPs could vote on England-only laws.
Former Welsh Secretary John Redwood has criticised the move saying: “Who speaks for England in the government? Why propose the end of English devolution the very weekend the government waves the English flag for the football?”
One of the criticisms of the legislation has been its complexity with primary legislation having to be ‘certified’ by the Commons Speaker according to whether it relates to:
- England and Wales
- England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The legislation links to the Barnett formula and the allocation of UK Government funds to the devolved nations. Since EVEL was introduced in 2015, the right to veto legislation has never been applied.